July was spent in Greece, primarily on Crete. Musically, it was all about getting my album tracks finished to the point where I can hand them over to the Mix and Master engineer. There’s something about working in boardshorts and a singlet, whilst sipping a beer in a Greek taverna, that lends itself to the detailed work that is needed to take a track from ‘Done’ to ‘Ready to Release’:
In reality, I think it was the fact that I had paused all other music activity for the last 7 weeks that has allowed me to focus on the final tasks for the album – no daily splurges (daily idea generation), no weekly BandCamp releases (R.A.W.), no compiling and rehearsing of any live sets, and no chasing down new opportunities for some live gigs (in Greece or back in Sydney).
So, all that is left to do on the album is those bits that I could not do remote from my home studio – mostly all the hardware synth (Moog Sub 37 and Novation Peak) parts (the baggage allowance doesn’t let me take the heavy guns on the sabbaticals unfortunately). The plan is to have that all done by the end of August to hand over to the Mix and Master Engineer.
….AND prep for a live gig I have coming up in Sydney on 11 August:
So, it was 5:30 in the morning and I was getting ready to head out for my morning training run, and I put on my Bluetooth headphones and selected my Daily Mix #5 from Spotify, first track Question Reponse by Worakls, an artist I have only recently discovered (another live electronic muso!
So, imagine my surprise when it sounded really familiar, just like something I would do, although a bit more tweaked and better mixed than I would do. Then the Rhodes electric piano starts, and it’s exactly MY RIFFS! F#@king Hell! The dirty French f~%ker has stolen my track! How the hell did he mange to get all the parts to rework in such a cool way, where did he steal it from….and, I admit, I was just a little bit chuffed he’d thought my track was worth plagarising!
It was only in the lift down from the apartment when the track fizzed out as the bluetooth connection was lost that I realised my headphones had connected to my iPad that had started playing my track Bluez, at exactly the time I pressed play on Spotify on the phone (with volume off!)
With over 350 tracks produced in the last 10 years, I sometimes forget some of the cool tracks that warrant a rework and to be played live. This is one of those tracks – Bluez from November 2014:
We’re still in Crete on the #mustfinishthealbum sabbatical, with progress going fairly well on getting the 12 track album ready for the mix/master engineer when we return. Here’s where all the magic happens:
A much reduced set-up, which is coming with its own issues when I need to tweak the parameters on the Moog Sub37 part….and it’s resting back in Sydney (add it to the Todo-when-back-in-Sydney list).
So that’s about all the news for now. Back in Sydney from 1 August when the focus will shift to crafting my sets for Burning Man 2023 which will only be 4 weeks away….Eek. And somewhere along the line I will need to catch up my BandCamp Release-A-Week (R.A.W.) production…I’m about 8 weeks behind schedule on that – last quarter of 2023 is gonna be BUSY!
Well it was for me. Last weekend’s set at our first Cirque de Nuit was (for me) the greatest of all time (so far). OK, so there’s a few caveats! I just finished putting the video together, you’ll see what I mean – what an amazing crowd:
Thanks to all those who supported, not just during my set, but also for being such an awesome crowd the whole night! And thanks too to my co-organisers and music providers – Go South (Anet), Funkytronic (Jean-Marie) and Goldilocks (Chris)…what a team. Jump on Facebook to follow our community page for plenty more news of some crazy circus fun to come – Cirque de Nuit.
That’s about it for the month’s news. Cirque de Nuit planning and doing was pretty much it for May’s music news…that’s more than enough.
So, this was always a high likelihood of happening…the Album release is being delayed!
I’ve got the tracks selected (an extract from my ‘Pottz Music Machine, my production manager is on the left) and have made a good start at getting them ‘release ready’. But…there is no way I will make the deadline I set myself.
Why? Well, a few things. For one, I have had a lot more live performance opportunities than I thought I would in this first half of the year, and I will always prioritise the live playing ahead of everything else music-wise I am doing! The live playing has really helped the album process as I was able to road-test a bunch of new tracks that were candidates for the album and have them ratified on the dance floor. The second issue I have is around the mixing and mastering process. I did not allow enough time for that and also over-estimated how readily the engineer would be able to drop what they were working on and dedicate plenty of time to working on my 11 track album. Then, of course there’s the cost for that! Current market conditions aren’t really allowing for that spend right now.
So, I’ll reset with a release date somewhere in the last quarter of this year. It is still happening this year…just a bit (lot) later than planned.
I’m super excited to be teaming up with 3 good friends and purveyors of fine music on May 20th, to put on a night of DANCE, MAGIC and MYSTERY. Our playground will be Boogie Mountain (previously the infamous Kit and Kaboodle), right here at the Pottz Point Hotel (well that’s what I think it should be called).
Ok, so that was not strictly April music news, but it’s the main focus right now. April kicked off with one of my best ever live sets played at Sunset Town’s – The Good, the Bad, and the Burners event. 4 amazing days spent on the most spectacular site, with equally fantastic people….too good. Here’s a snippet of my closing track (full set can be seen here – https://youtu.be/uHrEBEZf7BQ):
Burning Man 2023 is all booked in for this year, so the annual Playa set preparation will be starting very soon.
That’s it for the April Monthly Notes update – Ciao!
I played a set this last weekend where 80% of the music was brand new….just produced and made it to the ‘Release to BandCamp’ level. I spend 2 weeks putting together the raw stems I would need to improvise these tracks live….and then did it!
The goal, to real-time road test if any of this music should be on my next album. Some are ‘sure-ins’ (a), others not (b), and then others are likely to be in, but need work (c). And the hurdle to get in???
Did I have a shit load of fun playing them live?
Did the result of improvising that track live represent what I want to put out into the world musically and..
[Most importantly] Did other people ‘get it’!
See which of these tracks do you think were in the (a), (b) and (c) categories above…
So, I’m doing a bit of an experiment with the music for the new album. I have a gig next Saturday, and I’m going to play almost 100% new music, that has never been performed live before. I’m made a shortlist of the candidates for the album and will play these live at the gig, to test drive them and see if they’re album worthy.
I’ve gone even one step further with this week’s Bandcamp release R.A.W. 23_07 – Goose as Duck. This track isn’t even really finished yet, but I set myself today as a deadline to have it in a state where I can jam it live, so it’s going into the set-list for next week’s gig….anything can happen!
Check out the rough mix up on Bandcamp. I’ll post my live performance of it next weekend.
Part of my creative process is to just free jam and improvise over an initial idea. The idea is most often just a Splurge (a 20-30 minute quick brain dump of free flow ideas that I do EVERY day, first thing in my studio). These splurges are usually quite bare bones and just the initial ideas of where a track might go.
Then I do a quick Discovery Session with the track to tease out some more direction, before I set-up to do a live stream creative improvisation as a means of producing a more fully formed track. The track below I live streamed from Berlin in 2018 when I spend a few months there on creative sabbatical. This live jam is one of the one that really worked.
Savannah Soul was the resulting track, and whilst I’ve played it out live many times since, I have never really managed to capture the essence of that live jam. It’s a definite for the new album and I am going to spend the next few weeks recapturing the fun I had when jamming this track, as it really does capture a lot of what I believe my sound is and what I want to come through in the album.
Check out the original creation of Savannah Soul right here: